Archives for February 2009

Who’s Teaching Who?

Part of my day job (a small part really) is to take some continuing education type modules that are meant to help all of the staff where I work to learn the basics of our industry along with the basics of phone answering and computer usage.  I’ve had several jobs that have had similar programs (Radio Shack comes to mind) and with all of them, there is some degree of antiquatedness to be expected.  Many of the computer manuals, for instance, still talk about 28.8 bps modems.  The more updated ones usually will talk about 56k modems and maybe even a quick blurb about the emerging “broadband” technologies.  The one I was working on recently even talked about the UseNet system!

But what really got me was the following bit of text:

cpublunder

Can you spot the glaring errors in that paragraph?  I’ll give you a hint.  Intel is the manufacturer of the Pentium and Celeron CPUs, not a competitor with them.  And they never have been.  Intel made, makes and will make the Pentium and Celeron brand CPUs.

And this is a educational module for our staff.  So, I ask again, who’s teaching who? (whom?)

*if you’re curious, Intel introduced the Pentium chip in 1993 and the Celeron chip in 1998.  Coincidentally, 1998 is the year that I purchased my first personal PC (not owned by my parents) and it had a Intel Celeron 333.  Very high tech at the time. 🙂

Using Adsense Allowed Sites to Track URL Usage

Not too very long ago, I was banging my head against the wall looking for a way to find what URL’s I had my Adsense ads showing on. It’s not hard to remember the URLs that you are currently doing upkeep and maintenance on, but the URLs of revenue share forums (forums.digitalpoint.com) and websites that you’ve left along the shoulder of the information superhighway can easily be forgotten. Especially if it/they are slow traffic and low impression URLs.

I had a couple impressions and clicks from a un-channeled AdSense unit.  If you don’t give the unit a channel or know the URL, AdSense gives you no easy way to find out where that impression is coming from.  And, while my impressions were not, some people have had impressions and clicks show up from non-compliant websites.  It’s a good way to get your Adsense account suspended.  Or get a competitors account suspended if you catch my drift.  Either way, I get just under 50% of my online income from Adsense on a good Adsense month, so I didn’t want to get the account suspended.  I needed to track those URLs!

After much searching, I found nothing.  There are a couple of *ahem* “services” that can give you the URLs, but they are all paid services.  Would be good for finding out what other sites your competitor is running his/her adsense on.  But, I didn’t want to pay for a service just to track the URLs that Adsense was showing on.  I have no other use for such a service, so it would be a bit of an overkill to pay for it.  Which leaves me with free services and products.  There are none.  At least, none that I could find.

What is my solution?  A feature of Adsense called “Allowed Sites”.  It does the opposite of what I wanted really.  Rather than just telling me what URLs were showing my ads, it also restricts the URLs that are allowed to show the ads.  Thus the name Allowed Sites.  If a URL isn’t on that list, it isn’t allowed to show your ads.  Not exactly the solution I had in mind, but with nothing else available, it’ll have to do.

Using Allowed Sites.  You have to turn it on.  It’s pretty simple really.  Log into your adsense account, click on adsense setup, and then click on allowed sites.  Check Yes, I want to use it and then the button.  Now, all you need is a list of your URLs that will be allowed to show your ads.  For some, like myself, with less that 20 or so domains, the list is pretty easy to put together.  But, the list has a max of a couple hundred, so any hard-core domainers or even adsense landing page creators would have a hard time using the service.  Luckily, my list is relatively short, and easily fits within the limits.

So, that takes care of the sites that I know/remember.  What about the sites that I’ve forgotten?  The sources of the mysterious non-channeled impressions?  Well, as those impressions and clicks come in, the URL that they appear on will show up in a list of non-allowed sites showing your ads.  If the site is one of yours, you simply need to add it to your list.  If it isn’t one of yours, you can leave it off the list and it won’t be able to show your ads.  Plus you get to see what whomever it is is working on. 😉

Allowed sites is not the perfect solution, but it will work for most people.  There are some noted exceptions that won’t be able to use it, but those folks will likely have another solution anyways.  If you’ve been hanging around the ‘net for a while, you might want to try turning this on for your adsense account.  You might find a few sites you forgot about!

Here’s the Googelymoogely’s help index on Allowed Sites.

Tool to See Competitors Adwords Keywords

I got pinged this evening on a new free tool that has been floating around. It’s a plugin for firefox called PPCSpy. Basically, you install it in firefox, and it puts a little icon down in the lower right corner of your page.

Turn the plugin on by clicking on the icon and do a google search for your desired niche. You’ll see a bunch of green boxes pop up under the adwords ads. Click those boxes and you get a sampling of the keywords that that advertiser is using.

With the free version, you only get to see the first 10 keywords, but there are levels of paid use that allow for 50 and 100 keywords. There’s plenty of other features as well that make it well worth picking up for free if you do any PPC work. Or at least at first glance.

I’ll be giving it a bit of a test drive over the next few weeks.